It’s no secret that NFL teams face a tough battle attracting fans out of their homes and into stadiums for games. Due to technology that has made television pictures clearer and more realistic, along with a burgeoning second screen experience, over 57-percent of sports fans say they would rather watch games at home.
Teams aren’t giving up in the fight to attract fans to games. Recognizing that 63-percent of sports fans attend games in-person for the stadium experience provided, teams are turning to smartphone technology to give fans experiences never previously enjoyed or imagined.
Leveraging Experience’s technology, 14 NFL teams are reaching fans via their team smartphone apps to offer ways to interact, engage and enjoy the team and facilities throughout the season.
“The goal for us with our NFL partner teams is to use our technology to allow our partners to afford their fans incredible experiences and memories on the field, as well as giving fans the capacity to upgrade their seats,” Experience’s CEO, Greg Foster, said.
Notably, Experience’s partner teams boast some of the NFL’s highest attendance records. Yet, these teams recognize that to provide fans with the best in-game opportunities, they must reach them through technology and unique offerings.
“We wanted a way to offer something ‘special’ to season ticket members and fans, while also creating unique fan experiences. When evaluating our options, we knew that Experience’s mobile platform to deliver experiences for Cowboys fans was the best option. Also, Experience has a preferred relationship with the NFL that made implementation quick and easy. Experience is the leader in the mobile fan experience space and we pride ourselves in working with the best to deliver the highest quality experience for our fans,” the Dallas Cowboys’ chief sales and marketing officer, Jerry Jones, Jr., explained.
Throughout the 2016 season–including the post-season–Experience’s NFL partners have unveiled unique opportunities to engage fans and captivate their desire to attend games in-person.
Take for instance, the Seattle Seahawks. 2016 marked the third season the perennial playoff contender partnered with Experience. According to the team’s vice president of marketing, Jeff Richards, the Seahawks were initially attracted to the technology to, “find a manageable, user-friendly way to give season ticket holders and other fans access to premium experiences that would help create a once-in-a-lifetime game day experience.”
Using Experience’s technology, which is embedded into a team’s pre-existing mobile app, the Seahawks have been able to “sell and auction premium experiences, including pre-game sideline access, the chance to attend a post-game press conference, kick field goals on the field post-game, and stand on the Toyota Fan Deck as the 12 Flag is raised pre-game,” according to Richards.
Underlying in Experience’s technological offerings is the additional revenue use of the platform can help drive to teams. “We deliver significant revenue. If you think of all of these additive experiences and access points, you are increasing the likelihood that some of these fans will convert to season ticket holders, which is a significant driver of revenue,” Experience’s Foster explained.
While teams like the Seahawks note they’ve experienced revenue increases through the partnership, they are quick to highlight how they’ve enjoyed watching fan engagement and satisfaction grow.
According to the Seahawks, the team has been able “to give nearly 650 Seahawks fans access to some of the coolest and unique elements of game day at CenturyLink Field,” In the fight to drive fans off of the couch and to the stadium, perhaps the power of Experience’s technology is best surmised by a story highlighting one said fan.
“One of our unique experiences offered is our Pre-game Player Intros, where a fan has the opportunity to stand at midfield as the players run out of the tunnel. While it often is our highest grossing experience, it consistently surpasses the expectations and even dreams of many of our purchasers. We had a fan fly in from New Orleans with his 10-year-old son for their first game and purchased the experience for his son’s birthday present. The pair had an amazing time and plan to make the trip back soon,” Richards recounted.
Examples like this signal to Experience’s Foster that the company’s NFL partners understand the technological and creative complexities involved in attracting fans to the stadium in the 21st century.
“It’s been pretty incredible to watch how teams capture creativity. In the NFL, experiential offerings are at the heart of what fans want. Teams providing access to the field to allow fans to kick field goals and sending them a picture afterward creates lifelong fans. At the end of the day, teams are competing for fans. The fan can stay home and watch the game on TV, or the fan can come and witness an event live. Just putting a person in the seat and not giving them an opportunity to enhance their experience puts a team at a disadvantage against the 60″ LCD screen in the fan’s family room. It’s very important that we get across to teams that the more robust experience they give to their fans, the bigger difference it will make when the team tries to sell single game and season tickets,” Experience’s Foster remarked.